'Star Wars' Standalone Movie Writer Talks Extreme Secrecy, What to Expect

Fans "need to expect everything because it’s 'Star Wars.' "
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When Chris Weitz took over the screenwriting chores of Gareth Edwards’ 2016 Star Wars movie, some wondered what that meant for the work done by original writer Gary Whitta. According to a new interview, that work remains at the center of the movie.

“I think [Whitta’s script] still is the core,” Weitz told /Film, saying later that the writer’s earlier draft meant that “there’s a very strong structure from Gary’s work and that’s a huge advantage to me. But just like [Weitz’s current film] Cinderella, it’s a director’s medium so it’s really about my making what Gareth needs to do his film.”

(For his part, Whitta has since spoken about his work on the project, saying, “I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder on anything or with more conviction and commitment, and that includes my own original projects,” and that he was “deeply grateful to have had the rare opportunity to contribute to a new chapter” in the Star Wars franchise.)

In order to get on the project, Weitz explained, there was “a huge security component” to discussions. “I wasn’t able to see the script until kind of after I was brought on board,” he said. “I tried to be as cool as possible in these meetings while still being aware [that] if I got the assignment I was going to be able to work on something I’ve been dreaming of doing.” (As with so many of the creative teams of the new Star Wars movies, Weitz said that the original movies were “a formative experience in my life, let alone in the notion of filmmaking.”)

Asked what fans can expect from Edwards’ Star Wars installment — the first standalone movie in the revived franchise, set for release Dec. 2016 — Weitz played it cool. “They need to expect everything because it’s Star Wars,” he said. “They have to. If I didn’t do that I’m failing in my job.”

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